To my future son,
You are not even conceived yet, and already I dream of you. There are many fears that raising a girl sparked in me, but raising a son comes with a lot of responsibility. For now, there is really only one thing I want to talk to you about.
Appreciating people for who they are, not what they look like. Specifically, I want you to respect the bodies of women and not let societal pressures persuade you to put such an emphasis on appearance.
In society today, the media is flooded with images of thin women portrayed as beautiful. Movies promote sex as a way to begin a relationship. Pornography sets the stage for lust. Men are often given a "pass" to be chauvinistic, disrespectful, and perverse. Please do not take it.
I know that many of your friends may be "in to" treating girls like objects, possessions, or challenges to be "conquered." You must be better than that.
There is no hair color prettier than another. The shape of a woman's nose does not define her character. Face bones are to help her eat, smell, and see...not to make her look a certain way. Freckles, acne, hair, or big pores don't mean a girl is ugly. Weight is only a number, and health has many definitions. So long as she is healthy, her personality compassionate, and her heart pure....she deserves a your respect and possibly even the chance to be your date.
Your dad once told me that the love handles I was complaining about only meant I have his love. At first I didn't believe him because the world tells me otherwise...but eventually, his voice won out. He also tells me constantly how beautiful I am for all that I do. I am a good person, not because I wear a size 8...but because I feed the hungry. I am not pretty because my hair is straight....but because I smile at strangers. Women shouldn't be classified as beautiful for their appearance, but for their heart.
From a young age, I hope to instill in you the value of getting to know someone--both men and women--for who they are, not what they look like. Skinny people can be mean, and larger people can be friendly. I may be cliche, but you must choose a girlfriend and your future spouse* based on your compatibility. And to learn if you are compatible or not, you need to be open to all forms of beauty.
This correlates directly to my experience with an eating disorder. There is no way that I could have began to overcome it without the help of your dad. He truly loved me, for me, and accepted my baggage when I told him about my struggles with bulimia. I'm so glad that you have him as an example. He will show you how to love unconditionally, and I will be there to keep you in line when peer pressure takes its toll on you.
You will be understanding and compassionate. I just know you will.
* You may be called to be a priest, so that'd be awesome too!